Bed bugs do not just sprout from nowhere and into your home as they have to be brought from another place to your home. They may find their way into your home from your luggage, a piece of furniture you bought from maybe a yard or garage sale etc. It is not easy to tell that your home is infested with these parasites and the only time you will suspect they are in your home is when you find bites on your body. However, this is not a sure way of telling whether your home is under bed bug infestation or not as the bites could come from other parasites or they could go unnoticed. If for instance a person does not react to these bites, they may think their house is safe while the population of these parasites swells until they become visible. Below are some of the sure tell tale signs that your home is infested with bed bugs.
Identifying a Bed Bug
The first step to finding out if your home is infested with bed bugs is to know how they look like in the first place. There are so many people out there who do not have a clue on how these parasites look like which makes it difficult for them to tell if their homes are infested or not. They have a reddish brown colour, almost the size of the seeds found inside an apple fruit and they do not have wings. The young nymphs are very small and noticing them is quite difficult not unless they are full fed with blood whereby they assume the colour of blood, red.
A well fed adult bed bug resembles a torpedo as its body elongates whereas an unfed one will resemble a disc. Their colour varies also depending on the last time they fed on blood. If they have taken blood recently, they will be bright red due to the fresh blood but this colour darkens as they digest this blood. After learning how to identify how a bed bug looks like, the next step would be to try and see if there are any signs that may signify their presence in your home.
Bed bugs have their skeleton outside their bodies as they have an exoskeleton which they have to shed through a process known as molting in order to grow into the next life stage. In order to grow they have to molt or shed off their skin to allow them grow larger in their size. Scientifically, a bed bug has to pass through 5 life stages before it becomes an adult which means they have to shed off their skin five times. This should be your clue that your home is under a bed bug infestation when you notice that there are several molted skins lying around either on your beddings, cracks or corners of your bed. Molted skins are the best indicator of an infestation as it is most likely to find so many of these parasites are usually in the early stages of life hence the many molted skins you will be sure to find.
These skins resemble the parasite’s shape and size but are translucent in colour. If you find these skins anywhere in your home, it could mean the infestation is not large but if you find them aggregated together then the infestation is large. The places that you should comb out while checking for these molted skins include; ceiling and wall junctions, behind the headboards, baseboards, mattress seams or stuck to your personal belongings.
According to entomologists, bed bugs usually feed in every 5 to 7 days when the host is around. When the host is not around, they spend their time digesting the blood they had sucked earlier. It is a proven fact that blood contains a lot of water and thus when the bed bug digests the blood, it excretes the excess water as waste. The waste matter is often in a semi-liquid form and is deposited on virtually all places that the bed bugs move. Whenever you are checking if your home is infested with these parasites, it is advisable that you do check the surfaces of your bed frames, mattresses and any other area that bed bugs might hide or travel. The fecal spots are usually black in colour as the blood will have already been digested and the spots are mostly in group of ten or more.
The fecal spots ought to be checked in areas such as mattress tags and along the seam, headboard, edge of carpeting, electrical outlets and curtain seams. Other places would include behind pictures hanged on the wall and the junction between the wall and the ceiling. The fecal spots of other parasites like cockroaches could also be mistaken to be for the bed bug but there is a way to tell the difference. Additional clues ought to be checked to link them to a bed bug and also the waste matter of a bed bug feels smooth due to the liquid excreted from the body.
Bed bug Aggregations
Bed bugs usually leave some form of traces wherever they aggregate together. In order to be sure that they are indeed bed bugs or not, you should check for some more evidence. Other bed bug evidence includes live and hatched eggs, fecal spots, cast skins as well as some live ones. The aggregations are not easily seen and hence one ought to be extra vigilant as they are not easy to identify. These aggregations resemble the normal mold and hence the need to look more closely to be sure if it is mold or the parasites. You can look for bed bug aggregations in these areas; behind chipped paint, loose wallpaper, air conditioner base, beneath the wood framing, interior frame of closet doors, curtain rods, in personal belongings and all the other places listed above where bed bugs are likely to hide.
Generally everyone assumes their homes are free from bed bug infestation until the first day they wake up with bites that itch a lot. This should be the wake up call to carefully check for all the above signs that prove the presence of bed bugs in your home. It is crucial to learn these entire tell tale signs as they may save you and your family from a lot of discomfort at night. It may as well spare you from embarrassment since bed bugs can decide to show in public especially when you are in public forums or entertaining guests at home.